Hi y’all! I wanted to share something a little different. Elizabeth Resnick is a health coach and fellow blogger who is sharing her acne journey with us today! After trying just about EVERYTHING, Elizabeth has finally conquered acne and knows exactly what it took. Her story shines a light on healthy people who are very conscious about what they eat and how they treat their skin topically but still struggle with acne.
Acne is no fun. I should know…I’ve dealt with it most of my life. My acne started around the age of 11 or 12. Despite growing up in the 70’s, the era of Tang, Tab and Hamburger Helper, I ate pretty well. My mom cooked fresh vegetables and a salad was served with almost every meal. We ate avocados before they were hip. Of course, I had my share of treats as well.
I became a vegetarian around the same age the acne started. I loved animals, and also believed it was healthier not to eat meat. Which meant I started eating more pasta, pizza and other starchy foods.
My mom was very proactive and got me to a dermatologist right away. Over the years I tried every possible topical and oral medication that was available. Topical antibiotics, then oral ones. When one stopped working I would try another. I was on Retin-A when it ﬁrst came out and it felt like my skin was on ﬁre.
By high school the acne was developing into severe cysts. Accutane had just been approved by the FDA. I went on it not just once, but twice. Despite side effects (extreme thirst and dryness, plus a bad case of mono) I thought Accutane was a miracle because the breakouts ﬁnally stopped.
By my senior year of high school, I ﬁnally felt good about my skin (even though it was so dry I had to moisturize with vaseline sometimes.) It stayed decent through college, which was great, but by my early 20’s the breakouts started again.
Once again, I was back on topical antibiotics and Retin-A. My skin varied from dripping with oil to being severely dry. I would get a recurrent cyst near my eyebrow that sometimes had to be injected with a steroid. None of this was fun, but I covered things well with makeup and went about my life.
Since I’ve always been interested in health and wellness, I tried various natural skin care products as well. Sometimes my skin was better, sometimes worse, but it was never where I wanted it to be. And during this entire time I was eating well, or so I thought.
By my late 30’s I was completely fed up. A dermatologist suggested I go back on Accutane, since he really didn’t know what else to suggest. I was on a low dose of Accutane for almost a year (much longer than it is approved for) and my skin ﬁnally cleared up again for a few years.
I should point out that through this entire journey, I was still a vegetarian, sometimes pescatarian. Which works well for some people. Besides the acne, I had some recurring digestive symptoms that were always written off as IBS. By the time I was in my early 40’s I had developed anxiety.
And around that time, the acne came back. With a vengeance. There was no way I was going back on Accutane.
Since I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition I’m on a lot of email lists. One day a message from Dr. Mercola caught my eye. It sounded too good to be true. Cut out dairy, grains and sugar and your skin will clear up.
At this point I had nothing to lose. I had several painful, swollen cysts on my face. I started the next day. I started eating more eggs, and gradually added some high quality pastured meat. I completely cut out any pasta, bread, rice…even corn. No more dairy. And no more snacking on Nestle chocolate chips right out of the bag!
Amazingly, I felt the inﬂammation starting to subside in my face by the next day. Hard to believe, I know. I can’t tell you how long it took to go away completely…I wish I had tracked it better. I know within a week there was a visible difference. And after a few months I realized the digestive issues had cleared up and my anxiety was practically non-existent. And my acne was gone.
Over time, I added more foods that really support my skin. These include tons of leafy greens, fatty ﬁsh like sardines and salmon, and Collagen Peptides which I consume on a daily basis. I start each day with fresh lemon water, a green drink, and coffee blended with coconut oil and collagen peptides. I’ve also switched to extremely pure skin care. I cleanse with coconut oil at night and only use products made with the purest ingredients. Jenni’s eye wrinkle stick rocks!
I’ve also made lifestyle changes. Stress was and still is a trigger for my acne, and I’ve found ways to manage it better. If I slip up too much with my eating, it starts to show. I’ve noticed if I have dairy I might not break out right away, but I see some subtle pufﬁness around my eyes. I’m much more in tune with my body than I’ve ever been.
I can honestly say that at the age of 49 my skin is better than it has been in years. Not just free of acne (ﬁnally!) but truly healthy.
Thanks for letting me share my story. I sincerely hope that it can be helpful. I was so frustrated with my acne for so many years, and spent thousands of dollars on prescription drugs. If you’re struggling with any type of skin condition, don’t just look at the outside…look at what is going inside your body as well.
Elizabeth Resnick is a holistic health coach who believes that all women deserve to feel happy, healthy and hot! She loves showing busy women how simple, fun lifestyle changes can help them look and feel better than ever. Elizabeth earned her certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, but she has always enjoyed sharing her passion for health and whole foods. When she’s not writing her blog or working with clients, you can probably find Elizabeth listening to music, driving with the top down, or taking a walk with her dog KO. You can find Elizabeth’s blog at https://elizres.com or follow her on Instagram @resnickelizabeth
I’m so glad Elizabeth was willing to share her story. She offers a fresh angle on the battle against acne. Feel free to comment below and I’ll make sure Elizabeth gets your questions! And be sure to check out Elizabeth’s blog HERE. I find it incredibly reliable and helpful. Elizabeth was who convinced me to start taking collagen (more on that HERE) and I’m so glad she did!
Oh how funny… I just found Elizabeth’s blog and she recommended yours so I checked it out and this is the first post I was drawn too 🙂
I have a very similar story as you… I’m totally addicted to fruit so I eat a lot of sugar and my skin still breaks out but it was horrible when I was eating dairy & starch (even corn & potatoes) I had to cut it all out and when I did, huge improvement. I make all my own face scrubs, lotions even cleaners now too and they work and feel sooo much better than anything I’ve ever bought at the store.
Sorry I just saw this comment. So happy that you have found what is working for you. Now that my skin is clear I can eat some corn and potatoes from time to time, but they will never be a regular part of my diet.
And good for you that you are making all your own skin care! I love DIY (thanks to Jenni) but also love trying new natural products. But definitely simple is better! Thanks for checking it!
This article is inspiring and very informative. I get cystic acne once in a while, it hurts a lot and takes a while to heal, but I still consider myself lucky. I am allergic to milk, so that’s a good start, but I’ll have to minimize my carbs until I’m able to remove it out of my system totally. Thanks for sharing!
Jenny! I’m so glad you benefited from this post! So much of our skin’s outcome comes from what we eat and that can be so hard to figure out. Good luck!
Thanks for your reply! I did learn so much from your post. I’ve always had bad eating habits, but after reading Elizabeth’s story, I’ve decided to start eating healthy now. I can be stubborn, and my hunger pangs are uncontrollable, but every time I want to indulge, I picture myself with a swollen zit and all the craving are gone haha. Gross but it works for me. Please tell Elizabeth, she looks amazing! Thanks again! 🙂
I’ve noticed bloating almost instantly when I’ve eaten carbs (so try not to) & painful breakouts after sugar. The resulting problem with cysts/boils is the bruise coloured scarring that never goes; any oil suggestions Jenni? Thanks for all your fantastic recipes